Archive for April 28, 2010

Jacqueline Jacobs’ work selected for San Diego Book Arts juried exhibit

April 28, 2010 Leave a comment


'Misunderstandings' by Jacqueline Jacobs

SAN DIEGO – Jacqueline Jacobs, whose works in textiles and on canvas are part of the collections of various synagogues in San Diego, has another medium in which she excels: Book Arts.  She has been notified that her book entitle “Misunderstandings” has been accepted for the juried exhibition of  San Diego Book Artists, to be held May 29 through July 4 at the Geisel Library on the UCSD campus.

Prof. Kitty Maryatt, assistant professor of art at Scripps College and director of the Scripps College Press, selected 61 pieces by 54 artists for the exhibit from a total 200 books submitted. 

Jacobs said in “Misunderstandings,” “I explore the concept of lack of communication” amog all peoples “no matter what language is used.  If language doesn’t work, what will?  Hopefully violence will not be the answer.”

Her book is constructed of wood panels and such other materials as “beeswax, paper, silk, oils, pastel, graphite and silk.”

“I go further by emphasizing the lack of hearing one another,” Jacobs added in an artist’s statement.  “I make the point by embedding ‘dead’ hearing aids batteries in the wax and write ‘anybody listening.?’”

Preceding based on material provided by artist Jacqueline Jacobs


Sound and silence

April 28, 2010 Leave a comment
By David Amos 

David Amos

SAN DIEGO–In past generations and centuries, most people spent their waking hours in silence, mostly with their own thoughts. Sounds were the exception more than the rule; therefore, whenever there was speech or music, it was welcomed and carefully heard. There was no recorded sound, so people instinctively knew that if it was not heard carefully the first and only time, it was gone forever. Attention spans were longer.

In the present, it is just the opposite. We are constantly stimulated by sounds, radio, television, traffic, friends, at work, and canned music practically everywhere. Subconsciously, we are begging for a degree of silence and serenity.

Today, our lives are so fast paced, that pure music is not sufficient to keep most people’s interest. Something else must accompany it. I found that it even applies to me. As much as I am involved in music and music-making, it is difficult for me to sit down at home and stare at the stereo speakers. I must be either studying an orchestral score, comparing other renditions, or listening to something in the car radio or CD player. In the concert hall, of course, it’s a different story.

Unfortunately, the simple act of listening to music, without words or action on the screen, seems like a waste of time to most people. This is why some orchestras have attempted, with various degrees of success, to mix music with other media. It could be accompaniment to silent movies, ballet, opera, or Broadway musicals. This is also why attendance has significantly declined for pure orchestral and chamber music, especially among the young. I even heard a few days ago that in Israel, where classical music has traditionally been so enthusiastically supported, there has been a marked decrease of attendance, and with that, financial problems and program reductions.

Since music education was severely curtailed in the public schools about 35 years ago, we are now faced with a generation (the “Xers”) who were never exposed to classical music, at school or at home; they are now active in their professions, home life, and various leisure activities, and serious music is not relevant, and therefore, not part of their lives. Some of them may feel a sense of reverence or respect for classical music they do not understand or enjoy, but most do not even feel that.

I have heard some wonderfully inventive musical passages which unfortunately, went unnoticed by most people hearing them. The reason was that the music was accompanied by intense dialog, gripping drama, or an action scene, as part of a film or television program. The music was there, it definitely enhanced the moment, but it was being used as a tool for other emotions, and therefore, became an afterthought at best.

There is another dimension to listening. If we use music as background for any other activity which occupies our minds, the music is only superficially absorbed. It provides a pleasant support, as long as it does not demand our attention. This form of casual listening is all right for what it does, but it does not provide a fraction of the gratification which attention to detail provides. We are simply using music as a supplementary tool to achieve other goals.

This is why I can not have music playing when I am, for instance, on the telephone or working at my desk, writing a letter, or even this article. Music is too important to me, and it grabs my full attention, away from everything else. Fear not; when I am driving, I have no trouble with the priorities of safety and courtesy.

Listening to music with full attention can give us untold pleasures. It is at its best when we learn all we can about what we are listening, in order to be swept by it and to anticipate favorite moments.

Years ago I remember meeting someone who told me, “I love football. But I really don’t know any of the rules, or understand what is going on in the field during a game. I just look forward to those few times when someone kicks the ball high in the air. That is thrilling to me!”

I am sure that you can see my point. This poor sap enjoyed football, but only at its most elementary level. Five percent of it, if that much. Think of how much more pleasure is derived with more understanding.

I know many people who simply fake pleasure at listening to serious music, for fear of their ignorance being discovered and being labeled a Philistine. These people even contribute large amounts of money to music they have not begun to understand or enjoy. But it does not have to be so. All it takes is more exposure, and a bit of preparation. In most instances we know in advance the music which is to be played in the evening concert. Invest some time to know who are the composers and the names of the compositions. Libraries are laden with wonderful books and background materials, and so is the internet. Online businesses that sell CDs (such as will be glad to make their products available to you. And, yes, when they are presented, those pre-concert lectures can provide substantial information and insight.


Amos is conductor of the Tifereth Israel Community Orchestra and a guest conductor of professional orchestras around the world.

Jewish license plate~Schatz2

April 28, 2010 Leave a comment

A treasure too

LA JOLLA, California — Melanie Rubin, our license plate maven, spotted this plate.  Although “Schatz” is a family name, it also has a meaning in German and in Yiddish: “Treasure.”   Ah, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all could feel that way about our cars?

This license plate has been added to our online collection.  If your car has a Jewish license plate, or you spot one that does, please send us a photo of it  at for posting.

KPBS, Union Bank honor ‘local heroes’ in Jewish and Asian communities

April 28, 2010 Leave a comment

SAN DIEGO (Press Release) In celebration of Jewish Heritage Month (April/May) and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May), Union Bank, N.A., and KPBS have named four exceptional San Diegans as 2010 Local Heroes for their outstanding community service. This year’s Jewish Heritage honorees are Ellen Beck and Marjory Kaplan, and the Asian Pacific American honorees are Divya Kakaiya, Ph.D., and Lee Ann Kim.

As part of its ongoing commitment to the communities it serves and in a celebration of cultural diversity, Union Bank has partnered with KPBS for a year-long program designed to celebrate local heroes who are making a difference to enrich the lives of others. The 2010 expanded Cultural Diversity Partnership recognizes and pays tribute to a total of 12 San Diegans throughout the year — local community heroes — who are making a difference by improving their workplace, profession, neighborhood, community, region and the world.  The year-long celebration of diversity will culminate on November 16, 2010, in San Diego where recipients will be formally recognized as part of the 13th Annual Local Heroes Awards, which Union Bank sponsors. 

The program kicked off with Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March, and will continue with Hispanic Heritage Month (September/October) and American Indian Heritage Month (November).

For each heritage month, KPBS seeks nominations of local community members in the arts, business, community activism, education and/or social services. You may visit to submit a nomination for Hispanic Heritage Month and American Indian Heritage Month.

“Our Union Bank Local Heroes program began in San Diego in 1998, and we are proud of this expanded partnership with KPBS,” said George Ramirez, executive vice president and head of Priority Banking at Union Bank. “These outstanding individuals have contributed so much and exemplify our core values of diversity and community involvement, and we are delighted to work with KPBS as we recognize the honorees and highlight their achievements.” 

“We are proud to team with Union Bank and announce additional local heroes as part of 2010 Cultural Diversity Partnership,” said Tom Karlo, general manager, KPBS. “These heroes embody a strong, ongoing commitment to community service, and we are pleased to show their work to the world through our video profiles airing on KPBS throughout May and June.” 

The 2010 Honorees for Jewish Heritage Month are:

Marjory Kaplan: Marjory Kaplan is president and chief executive officer of the Jewish Community Foundation (JCF) and holder of the Miriam and Jerome Katzin Presidential Chair. For each of the last five years, JCF has been a leading grant provider in the region. In her 16 years at JCF, Ms. Kaplan has built JCF’s donor base exponentially and developed highly innovative programs, such as the Endowment Leadership Institute (ELI) and the Youth Philanthropy Program.  A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ms. Kaplan’s entrepreneurial leadership and work in developing best practices in philanthropy have significantly strengthened the funder and nonprofit infrastructure of the community.

Ellen Beck, M.D.: Ellen Beck, M.D., is founder of the UCSD Student-Run Free Clinic Project (SRFCP), which serves more than 2,000 low-income patients each year. The SRFCP immerses 250 medical students into a community-centered healthcare model offering an equivalent of $1.6 million in service. Dr. Beck developed a national in-depth training program for faculty focused on health needs of the underserved and created the first fellowship in underserved healthcare. She is passionate about transforming public school education and has co-founded a comprehensive wellness program at Golden Avenue Elementary School. Dr. Beck is currently working to develop legislation that increases physician volunteerism in California.

The 2010 honorees for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month are:

Divya Kakaiya, Ph.D., CEDS: One of San Diego County’s first Indian psychologists, Dr. Divya Kakaiya has been treating eating disorders since 1985, specializing in cultural issues within eating disorders. Founder of the Healthy Within Foundation, which trains volunteers to conduct eating disorder prevention outreach, Dr. Kakaiya gives more than 50 free presentations each year about preventing and eradicating eating disorders and obesity in girls.  She also co-founded the South Asian Women’s Initiative (SAWI), which has evolved into a vibrant organization called SDNari.  Dr. Kakaiya serves on the boards of the Center for Creative Leadership’s Young Women’s Leadership Program and on the honorary editorial board for the Eating Disorder Journal of Treatment and Prevention. 

Lee Ann Kim: Lee Ann Kim is founder of the San Diego Asian Film Foundation, which serves more than 100,000 audiences and over 1,000 individual artists through its annual film festival and year-round programs. Through her leadership, the foundation has become one of the largest media arts organizations in North America focusing on Asian Pacific Islander programming.  The organization also offers programs to educate community groups about the latest media and computer technology.  Ms. Kim serves on the San Diego County Cable Commission as well as on the boards of the Orchestra Nova and the Convention and Visitors Bureau.  

Throughout the respective commemorative heritage months, KPBS will air video profiles of the winners, highlighting how they made a difference in their community. The spots can also be viewed on the Web at For more information on the Local Heroes Awards, please also visit


Preceding provided by Union Bank and KPBS

Curtsies, tips of the hat and other lost gestures

April 28, 2010 Leave a comment

By Natasha Josefowitz, Ph.D.

LA JOLLA, California–There are gestures belonging to another time that we don’t use anymore. There were ways of functioning on a daily basis that would seem foreign today. We relied on objects now obsolete. We all have our lists of nostalgia.

I remember those wire baskets for the washed lettuce. We stood on back porches and swung them in large arm circles to get the water out centrifugally. To flush a toilet we had to pull on a chain, and I remember the day I grew tall enough to reach it by myself.

All men wore hats and tipped them to salute a woman in the street or kissed an extended hand. Ladies wore gloves, and girls curtsied.

There were no readymade clothes in Paris in the twenties, or anyway, none that my mother would buy, so there was always a seamstress living in a garret who would sew clothes we would pick from photos of runways, and I had to endure what seemed like endless fittings. Hats too, were made to order. And as for shoes, I remember the minutes we stood under the x-ray machines in every shoe store and watched our toes wiggle, no one suspecting that we were getting an unhealthy dose of radiation. Homework was mostly hours practicing good penmanship and every night our shoes were placed outside our bedroom doors to be found shined by morning.

We got a bath once a week, but bidets were used daily. Hair was washed once a month, rinsed with carefully accumulated rainwater and chamomile tea—to give hair a shine—with endless minutes of brushing, a ritual followed by sitting with wet hair on the balcony to dry in the sun.

Our sewing machine had a treadle worked by foot, and I liked to sit under it as a child and move the treadle up and down while my mother sewed. Our maid did the laundry using a corrugated washboard, then put the wet clothes through a ringer and ended up drying them on a line strung from wall to wall in the kitchen or outdoors when we were in our summer home. She also used to hang the rugs on the balcony and beat the dust out of them. Apparently the carpet sweeper did not do a proper job. We also used to air our clothes after they came out of mothballs. Springtime meant bright cotton slipcovers to go over the satin and brocade chairs and sofas. And whenever we went away for the summer months, mother draped the furniture in sheets.

We went either to the beach in Brittany or to the mountains in Switzerland. Husbands came on weekends and also took the month of August off when the whole of Paris shut down. We always went away with family and friends, so there were babysitters available when the rest of the family went on excursions too arduous for the children.

Cars and taxis had running boards for easier entry. I could use one now especially when getting into SUVs. Buses had a cord near the ceiling that we pulled whenever we wanted to get off. The cord activated a bell that rang by the driver. This was very efficient; the bus kept going until someone was ready to leave. Cobblestone streets were everywhere, and I remember when the first asphalt road was built to circle the city. How amazed we all were at the smooth ride.

We had an ice man that brought a large block of ice (to place in the correctly named “ice box”) that lasted all week, dripping slowly into a pan that was changed daily. We also had a coal man who threw coal down a chute under the building. His face was black with coal dust. We left empty glass milk bottles outside the kitchen door, and every morning there were eggs, butter, and milk with its heavy layer of yellow cream at the top.

Sundays, we took our dominical walk, Mother and Father ahead (the governess had her day off) and the children running behind with hoops, roller skates, and scooters. We always stopped for tea, a croissant with a bit of chocolate inside for my brother and me. We were also treated to one-penny black licorice rolled in a pinwheel with a little red sugar candy in the middle.

I don’t miss any particular thing, but I miss some of the forgotten gestures–the genteelness of the time. I miss the little girl with the long red braids tied with a large bow, the innocent age, the time between the two world wars.

I was six years old when Mother gave birth to my brother in 1933. I remember her saying that it was not a good idea to bring a child into the world at that time, as there were already ominous rumblings in Germany. Six years later, we were refugees in America, trying out new gestures, new behaviors, getting into new routines that our grandchildren will also remember with nostalgia.

Josefowitz is a La Jolla based freelance writer. This article previously appeared in La Jolla Village Voice.

UCSD Student Senate should defeat anti-Israel resolution

April 28, 2010 2 comments
By Alex Liff

Alex Liff

SAN DIEGO — Following is a letter sent to the President of the University of California, the Chancellor of UCSD, and the President of the Associated Students of UCSD regarding this afternoon’s expected vote by the Associated Students Senate  on a resolution seeking divestment from companies doing business with Israel.

I am writing to you today as both a concerned California tax payer and a proud American citizen.  It has come to my attention that Associated Students of UCSD are being asked to vote on a resolution calling for divestiture from two fine American companies, GE and United Technologies due to their supposed association with one of America ’s key allies, the state of Israel .   Allow me to elaborate on two primary reasons why I strongly call on you to reject this misguided and dangerous resolution.


First let me state that I have reviewed the text of the resolution in detail and find it to be biased, grossly one sided and inaccurate in its representation of a very complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict.   Furthermore, the resolution seeks to punish two American companies who are part of core and fabric of this great country and have done nothing wrong.  United Technologies has developed and built the excellent military equipment that is keeping this country safe, while General Electric’s products have helped to improve lives of millions of people in this country.  These two companies provide employment for thousands of citizens of this country while generating wealth for multiple share holders..  The two companies also employ graduates of the UC system and enable many California taxpayers to provide the very funds that keep this public university system going.  Furthermore, the so called “occupying force” that this resolution refers to, happens to be one of this country’s most dependable, strategic and crucial allies in the world, Israel .  United Technologies and General Electric work with many of our allies around the world, including the militaries of many of our allies and Israel is no exception. 


Second, I would like to call your attention to a few indisputable facts.  The Gaza strip, has been ruled for a few years by an entity which has been classified by United States State Department as well as the European Union as a terrorist entity.  That entity is of course Hamas.  Please recall that shortly after 9/11 attacks on American territory many Palestinians in Gaza poured out in the streets, handing out candy and flowers to celebrate the deaths of Americans. 

The West Bank is ruled by the Palestinian Authority which I would like to remind you is responsible for the murder of American diplomats in Sudan in 1973 as well as various other acts of terror against American citizens.  Both Hamas and Palestinian authority have orchestrated numerous suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, killing several American citizens in the process.  During the gulf war, the Palestinian authority came out in support of Saddam Hussein and thus against the coalition led by United States of America .  American soldiers have died fighting against the regime supported by the Palestinian Authority. 


In short,the middle east conflict is involved, complex and multi dimensional.  As such it is better left to informed participants in the political arena to resolve.  As a tax paying Californian I do not wish to see our state institution for higher learning get embroiled in this political issue.  As a proud American, I surely do not want our institution of higher learning to pass a resolution that would punish two of this country’s finest companies for doing business with one of our key allies, all to help a terrorist entity that is the enemy of this country.  I therefore, urge you to reject this senseless, misguided and divisive resolution.  Your actions with regard to this resolution are being closely watched by the people who you can ill afford to alienate, the tax payers.  Please do the right thing.

Liff is a freelance writer based in San Diego

San Diego’s Historic Places: Point Loma Lighthouse

April 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Pt. Loma Lighthouse and Assistant Lighthouse Keeper's home

By Donald H. Harrison

Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO—It was a ten-mile journey over a rutted wagon road from the tip of Point Loma to the area of San Diego known as Old Town, a distance that may sound inconsequential today in the age of automobiles. However, for Lighthouse keepers Robert and Maria Israel, who lived and worked at the Lighthouse in the 1870s through the early 1890s, such a trip required very careful planning indeed.

For three years in the 1870s, they served together as Lighthouse Keeper and Assistant Lighthouse Keeper. With no one else to assist them, that meant at least one of the Israels needed to be at the lighthouse from sunset to sundown every evening to make certain that the facility’s 3rd order Fresnel lens stayed illumined. The lighthouse beam protected ships entering San Diego Harbor and served as a navigation aid for other ships as far as 18 to 24 miles away.

One hundred years before when Franciscan priests were establishing California’s famous chain of missions, they placed the structures approximately 30 miles apart — that distance being considered the equivalent of a full day’s horseback ride. From the standpoint of transportation, little had changed in the intervening century. Given that the Israels’ horses had to pull a wagon laden with water barrels, firewood, groceries and household supplies, it took them nearly half a day to cover the distance one-way between Old Town and the Lighthouse,

As a pragmatic matter, that meant the Israel family member who went to town either had to hurry the visit in order to get back before dark, or perhaps stay overnight or even a few days and then set out on the return trip in the morning, leaving the spouse on his or her own back at the Lighthouse. During the school term, the Israels’ children lived with relatives in town—all the more incentive to make shopping trips to the “city” last a few days.

According to the exhibit’s printed narration at the Lighthouse and at the museum now occupying the adjoining home of the assistant Lighthouse keeper, the Israels often spent weeks together without ever seeing another person, especially in winter with its shorter daytime hours.

In the summer, however, the Israels could usually anticipate visitors arriving on weekends, some of them dear friends, others tourists lured by tales of the beautiful views from the Lighthouse and the prospect of cooling sea breezes. Such visitors could be a blessing as Maria Israel had handicrafts of her making for sale.  They also could be a burden, depending on the degree that they distracted the Israels from the mandatory chores that are necessary for the upkeep of the Lighthouse. 

Robert Decatur Israel, a veteran of the Mexican American War, was 22 years old when he arrived in San Diego in 1850. Two years later he married Maria Arcadia Machado de Alipas,  then 16. Over the next 19 years, Israel served in the local militia, was the town’s constable and a justice of the peace, and served as a school board member. In 1871, he became the assistant lighthouse keeper, moving up to the senior position two years later. At that point, Maria became his paid assistant.

Lonely some days, harried on others—lighthouse keeper families could be expected to have ambivalent feelings about their jobs. Enter the lighthouse today  and you’ll see on the right the kitchen where Maria fixed dinners and canned vegetables. Robert is imagined whiling away some spare time playing a game of solitaire. To the left is the family’s living room, where curators suggest Captain Israel and his family might have spent the quiet hours reading or engaging in crafts – perhaps carefully gluing seashells to wooden picture frames to create unique settings for family portraits.

Go up a spiral staircase to the second landing, and the boys’ room is on the left. The boys may have amused themselves playing such instruments as the banjo or the guitar. “Life was simpler then,” notes the printed narration.

To the left is the Israels’ master bedroom–nighttime sleep there was of necessity interrupted by the requirement to check that the lighthouse light was still burning. Between the master bedroom and the boys’ room was a utility closet in which such lighthouse supplies as kerosene, wicks and cleaning agents for the lens were stored. The Israels could grab the supplies, continue up the spiral staircase to a landing above, and then climb a short ladder to the housing of the lighthouse’s light.

To learn about the light itself, visitors must exit the lighthouse and visit the museum in the adjoining building. In use at the Point Loma Lighthouse was a 3rd order Fresnel lens, named for inventor Augustin Jean Fresnel (Fray-nell).

“Fresnel lenses are classified by focal distance—the distance from the light source to the inside surface of the lens,” the exhibit informs. There are five orders of lenses, with the smallest being the 5th order. It had a focal distance of 7.4 inches, lens diameter of 1 foot 2 inches and could be seen as far away at 8 to 12 miles. The 4th order had a focal distance of 9.8 inches and could be seen as far away as 12-18 miles, while 3rd, 2nd and 1st order lenses could be seen approximately 18-24 miles away.

Point Loma’s 3rd order lens had a focal length of 19.7 inches and a lens diameter of 3 feet 2 inches. By comparison a 1st order lens had a focal distance of 36.2 inches, requiring a lens 6 feet in diameter.

Much of the work for Lighthouse Keepers and their assistants involved keeping the lenses and their housing spotlessly clean.

“It’s Brasswork,” a humorous lament written in 1935 by Fred Morong describing the unending, repetitive nature of the duty, says of the lighthouse keeper:

What makes him look ghastly, consumptive and thin?
What robs him of health, vigor and vim?
And causes despair and drives him to sin?
It’s brasswork.

The devil himself could never invent
A material causing more worldwide lament.
In Uncle Sam’s service ‘bout 90 percent
Is Braswork.

The Point Loma Lighthouse was 420 feet above sea level—and having the light on the hill proved to be disadvantageous. When low clouds or fog drifted over Point Loma, its light was obscured, proving to be a hazard for mariners. Eventually there were enough complaints that it was decided to build a new lighthouse at the bottom of the peninsula at a place called Pelican Point, where a small Coast Guard station stands today. In March 1891, it was Robert Israel’s duty to extinguish the light of the Point Loma Lighthouse for the last time and on the ensuing evening to light for the first time the new Pelican Point Lighthouse.

The change did not go easily for Israel, who soon found himself in conflict with superiors over new regulations and procedures that had been promulgated for the new light. Eventually, he left the U.S. Lighthouse Service, moving back to San Diego where the family had property, including the mountain top that bears their name.

As the Israels had been at the Lighthouse the longest of any keepers, they became permanently associated with the history of the lighthouse, but, for the record, between its activation in 1855 and its deactivation in 1891, the Point Loma Lighthouse had been served by 10 keepers and 20 assistant keepers – two of the latter having been women.

The Pelican Point Lighthouse was in use through 1960, and then was replaced by an automated device that still is a feature of the Coast Guard station there.  The Coast Guard station may be seen from the bluffs near the original lighthouse.
Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World.  This story appeared previously on